Published: 14 January 2022
A universal drug against every variant of Covid and against all microbes of the same family, therefore capable of blocking any coronavirus, "in theory it could also work against colds". Even this benign basic infection, but super contagious and in fact today without a cure that is not limited to symptomatic remedies, could find a therapy thanks to the studies of Angelo Reggiani (Iit of Genoa), Paolo Ciana (State University of Milan) and Vincenzo Lionetti (Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa). The three Italian scientists have in fact patented a strategy capable of preventing the Covid-19 pathogen and all its 'relatives' from entering the target cell. The first piece of a drug that could therefore close the door to the same cold, explains to Adnkronos Salute Reggiani, senior researcher and principal investigator in pharmacology at the Italian Institute of Technology.
"From the point of view of the strategy conceived, of the initial intention - he underlines - our drug project acts upstream of the infection". It is an aptamer (single-stranded DNA fragment) that functions as a screen to be placed in front of the entrance taken by the coronavirus (the K353 portion of the Ace2 protein, to which the viral Spike protein attaches). "While so far everyone has rightly focused on the virus to destroy it, we decided to bar the door - says Reggiani - A fairly common door, important for Sars-CoV-2, but also for all the other coronaviruses. Based on the knowledge that we have today, in fact, the coronaviruses seem to all enter on the same side ". That of Covid like that of the cold.
That's why, despite the road to a 'wildcard' drug effective for all variants of Sars-CoV-2 is still long (the team's hope is to be able to start human tests "within a couple of years" ), if and when this therapy arrives it could still be useful. First of all because, according to what can be expected at the moment, in perspective the pandemic coronavirus "we will control it - imagines the pharmacologist - but I don't know if we will be able to eradicate it". And then because, Covid aside, there will never be no shortage of coronaviruses already known or yet to be discovered to which 'slam the door in the face'. With drugs that, Reggiani points out, "will never be antagonists or substitutes for vaccines, but complementary tools".